Eric Broug: the master mind behind Islamic Geometric Design
Eric Broug, the author of both ‘Islamic Geometric Patterns’ and ‘Islamic Geometric Design’. He’s also the mastermind behind Broug Ateliers for Islamic geometrical design.
He gives lectures and workshops worldwide on Islamic Geometry. However, what would leave you stunned is that he started out an Eastern politics student!
It was my absolute pleasure to interview this amazing man, and here’s how it went.
1- So, first of all I want to know, what triggered your love for Islamic geometry?
When I was 24, I was studying Middle Eastern politics but realized that, although interesting, it wouldn’t interest me forever.
And I wanted to find something that would challenge me and could give me an interesting life. So, I found a book on the subject, by chance, and realized it was endlessly interesting. It’s like Islamic geometric design chose me, rather than the other way around.
2- How did you pursue it professionally after you stumbled across that book?
I did one year at the Princes School for Traditional Arts, but was not happy there. So, I got my masters in the history of Islamic art and architecture at SOAS in London. I was 36 at the time.
3- And what exactly did you do in that period? Between stumbling across the book and getting your master’s degree?
Ah, well. Those 10 years I drew with a pencil, ruler and pair of compasses.
To teach myself, I had to learn how to deconstruct the patterns in that first book I bought. Deconstruct in order to reconstruct. So I drew every day, hundreds of compositions, at every free moment.
4- Can you draw geometric shapes freehand, now that you’re such an expert?
I can, but not very well. It’s very hard to draw a well-proportioned star in freehand. Not much point either.
5- What do you think is the biggest thing you’ve achieved professionally so far?
It would be writing my book “Islamic Geometric Design”. It’s the first comprehensive art book on the subject and it’s a privilege for me to be the one who wrote it.
6- Where can one find your books in Egypt Mr. Broug?
AUC bookshop sells it. And another bookshop in Zamalek, near the Marriott.
There are lots of photos from Egypt in the book.
I don’t want to name one country. I can give you my favorites instead: Egypt, Iran, and Morocco. I actually gave a lecture in London on the 16th of June about Mamluk geometric design in Cairo, my favorite.